City Council pay hikes not likely
BY World's Editorials Writers
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
12/05/12 at 3:01 AM
City councilors elected in November were sworn into office Monday, and right on cue, Councilor Jack Henderson started calling for pay raises for the City Council.
Henderson has been leading the charge for higher pay for councilors for years, with no luck so far. The fact that few, if any, of his fellow councilors, much less the public at large, support his quest ought to tell him something: This is just not going to happen.
Tulsans have made it clear they believe their councilors should be part-time, citizen-councilors. That philosophy is reflected in their relatively low compensation, only $18,000 a year.
Henderson makes some good points in calling for higher pay: The job of a councilor is a demanding one, and it's true that a good, dedicated councilor is going to put many hours into the job.
Henderson thinks councilors ought to be paid as much as $52,500, the salary he proposed back in 2007. That sum amounts to half the mayor's salary. But his proposal got nowhere that year.
Councilors have gotten a pay raise, a $6,000 increase back in 2001. That was the first time they had gotten a pay hike since the council form of government was instituted in 1990.
There might come a time when the public as well as a majority of the council feel it's time to bump up councilor pay a little more. Given the poor economy of recent years, now doesn't feel like that time. And it's unlikely the public will ever go along with Henderson's argument that councilors ought to be paid a full-time salary.
Also on Monday, Councilor David Patrick was elected new council chairman and Councilor Karen Gilbert was elected vice chairwoman. Council newcomer Arianna Moore, at 25 the youngest Tulsan to ever serve on the council, also was sworn in.
We welcome all to the table and look forward to more progress and good works in the city of Tulsa.
Original Print Headline: Won't happen